Our History

Black Women's Educational Alliance, referred to as BWEA, is an organization that was founded in response to the expressed concerns about the equality of opportunities for black women in all divisions of the field of education as well as their intellectual and professional development.

In 1975 four highly professional women had a vision. The vision began with an informal meeting on the deck at the home of Dr. Florence H. Scott. With Florence were three other founders - the late Dr. Gwendolyn Gates Hewlett, Dr. Sadie S. Mitchell, and Leontine D. Scott. Invitations were then sent to black women who held administrative positions in the School District of Philadelphia. Twenty-eight women responded and later joined with the founders to become the charter members of the Philadelphia Chapter. The DECK SET, as they were initially called, held monthly meetings to share information, ideas and projections as they related to their administrative responsibilities. As a direct result of the "DECK SET" meetings, the BLACK WOMEN'S EDUCATIONAL ALLIANCE was born.

Dr. Florence H. Scott was the first president of the organization. Under her leadership and that of her executive committee, the vision began to take form. Organizational purposes were clearly delineated. Bylaws were constructed to bring order to the pursuit. An ambitious program of self-help was adopted. One of the primary functions was, and continues to be, networking to address such concerns as job security, desegregation, integration, contracts, state codes, and women's rights.

Charter officers of BWEA were Dr. Florence H. Scott, president; Dr. Hytolia R. James, vice president; Dr. Ernestine Carter, corresponding secretary; Dr. Jacqueline Sheppard, recording secretary; Dorothy Caldwell, financial secretary; and Dorothy Rush, treasurer.

Charter members were Dr. Jeanette Brewer, Dr. Franzella Buchanan, Dr. Constance E. Clayton, Dr.Althea Cousins, Sandra Cunningham, Jacquelyn Dougans, Ella Evans, Dr. Marjorie Farmer, Barbara Foxworth, Elaine Gardner, Soledad Gillespie, Odette Harris, Sophie Hayward, Dr. Phyllis Henderson, Dr. Gwendolyn Gates Hewlett, Dr. Carolyn Hill, Rachel Hill, Dahlia Johnson, Doris Lane, Christine Lindsey, Jerusha Logan, Dr. Sadie Mitchell, Julia Moore Mitchell, Dr. Ida Peterson, Dr.Daisy R.Reaves, Leontine D. Scott, Elaine Haith, Dr. Lurline Sweeting, Martha C. Young and Dr. Ann Waiters.

Sensing the need to interact with women in the field of education in surrounding communities, the Philadelphia Chapter of BWEA assumed a leadership role in encouraging and facilitating that contact. The Chapter formed an Expansion Committee. At the helm of this significant committee was the capable Dr. Hytolia R. James.

The Philadelphia Chapter sponsored a number of informational meetings with educators from the surrounding counties. From such meetings, a nucleus of Abington teachers coalesced to form the second BWEA chapter - Montgomery County Chapter (Montco - BWEA).

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